BELGRADE, Serbia — The world’s No. 1 ranked men’s tennis player, Novak Djokovic, tested positive for the novel coronavirus after playing in a series of exhibition matches he organized in Serbia and Croatia but with zero social distancing. His wife Jelena has also tested positive.
Djokovic defended his decision to organize the Adria Tour, but also apologized to those affected by the virus.
The moment we arrived in Belgrade we went to be tested. My result is positive, just as Jelena’s, while the results of our children are negative.
Everything we did in the past month, we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions. Our tournament meant to unite and share a message of solidarity and compassion throughout the region.
The Tour has been designed to help both established and up and coming tennis players from South-Eastern Europe to gain access to some competitive tennis while the various tours are on hold due to the COVID-19 situation.
It was all born with a philanthropic idea, to direct all raised funds towards people in need and it warmed my heart to see how everybody strongly responded to this.
We organized the tournament at the moment when the virus has weakened, believing that the conditions for hosting the Tour had been met.
Unfortunately, this virus is still present, and it is a new reality that we are still learning to cope and live with.
I am hoping things will ease with time so we can all resume lives the way they were.
I am extremely sorry for each individual case of infection. I hope that it will not complicate anyone's health situation and that everyone will be fine.
I will remain in self-isolation for the next 14 days, and repeat the test in five days.— adriatourofficial
Organizers canceled an exhibition event on Sunday in Croatia where top-ranked Novak Djokovic was due to play in the final after Grigor Dimitrov had tested positive for the virus.
Djokovic has been in the news frequently in connection with the COVID-19 virus outbreak, which led to the suspension of the ATP and WTA professional tennis tours in March. Plans were announced last week for the sport’s sanctioned events to return in August.
In April, he was criticized for saying he would not want to take a vaccine for the virus in order to be able to compete, even if it were mandatory for travel.
In May, when he was staying in Spain, Djokovic broke local lockdown rules by practicing at a tennis club about a week before it was allowed.
More recently, Djokovic complained about the U.S. Tennis Association’s plans to try to protect people from the virus during the U.S. Open with such measures as limiting the size of players’ entourages, going so far as to say he didn’t know whether he would go to the tournament in New York.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Cox Media Group